8 August 2019 is a day I will never forget. It was my first day as CEO of Corbion and a day I had very much been looking forward to. Now, after several months on the job, I still enjoy every minute of it. I have travelled to all our locations and met many wonderful people – people with great ideas, an amazing sense of loyalty, and a strong drive to be successful.
That drive has certainly been one of the forces behind the turnaround of our Bakery results this year; we experienced four quarters of growth in a row, which had not happened since 2016. Growth in Food was also driven by continued improvements, particularly in our natural preservation solutions in Meat. Our ability to help our customers create formulations and products that resonate with their target consumers, translated into above-average growth rates.
One of the key drivers of Corbion's Creating Sustainable Growth strategy from the start has been the expansion of the Bakery business geographically by extending the North American Bakery solution provider model into Latin America. The acquisition of Granotec do Brazil in March of this year fits perfectly with this ambition. Granotec do Brazil greatly complements our capabilities and geographical footprint for providing sustainable ingredient solutions in this region, and has provided us with a platform from which to better serve our customers.
In Biochemicals, although we experienced a significant downturn in our Electronics business, we are seeing early signs of stabilization. Algae Ingredients is largely behind expectations, as we continue working to scale up this business. This slower than expected progress triggered a non-cash impairment, impacting net result by € -26.7 million. However, Corbion has demonstrated the value of algae in several high-value food and feed applications. In the coming years, we expect that the momentum we see building now will bear fruit. In November, we took an exciting step in that direction by entering into a partnership with Nestlé to develop the next generation of algae-based ingredients, which could open important avenues into large global markets.
This year we saw strong momentum in PLA-related lactic acid sales as the Total Corbion PLA joint venture continued to develop beyond our expectations. It is great to see that after years of investing in this market, customer demand for bioplastics is really taking off. The growth in demand for lactic acid, the key ingredient for PLA, also prompted our decision to build a new lactic acid plant in Thailand to ensure sufficient capacity. As this new plant will be built using our innovative gypsum-free technology, the lactic acid produced will be at the highest sustainability standards and at industry leading low cost levels.
We made a bold statement about our commitment to sustainability by pledging to cut our carbon emissions related to energy, key raw materials, and transport by 33% per metric ton of product by 2030 from a 2016 base year. The proposed target has received approval by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) following a thorough validation process. As a sustainable ingredients company, Corbion is already deeply involved in developing sustainable solutions that help our customers shrink their carbon footprint by reducing food waste and their use of fossil-based chemicals. But there is more to be done. We must all become leaders in climate action, and do all we can to inspire each other to make a sustainable difference.
In 2020, we will remain deeply committed to safety and further increase our investments and efforts in this area. Nothing is more important to us than providing a safe place to work for everyone and to show clear commitment to safety from the top – that is why within the Executive Committee a Safety Committee has been established.
I would like to sincerely thank to all our employees for bringing their positive energy, inventive ideas, and collaborative spirit to work every day. Also, a big thank you to my predecessor, Tjerk de Ruiter, for his leadership in building such a tremendous company; I look forward to bringing Corbion to the next level in partnership with every member of our global team. Finally, I want to express my gratitude to all our stakeholders for supporting our values. It is the care, courage, collaboration, and commitment of our employees, customers, suppliers, partners, and shareholders that defines the character of this company and its unique promise.
Members of the Executive Committee
From left to right: Marcel Wubbolts, CTO, Olivier Rigaud, CEO, Andy Muller, EVP Ingredient Solutions, Jacqueline van Lemmen, EVP Operations, Marc den Hartog, EVP Innovation Platforms, Eddy van Rhede van der Kloot, CFO, Johan van der Hel, EVP Human Resources